Davis Mountains Preserve

Distance: ~9.5 miles round trip
Location: northwest of Fort Davis, Texas
Date: October 19, 2013

The view of the Davis Mountains from Locke's Gap (Mount Livermore is at left)

The Nature Conservancy's Davis Mountains Preserve encompasses several thousand acres of the Davis Mountains in west Texas. This mountain range includes Mount Livermore, one of the highest points in Texas, and is located about midway between two of the state's more visited ranges: the Guadalupe Mountains and the Chisos Mountains. The preserve is only open on certain days throughout the year, so you must check the Nature Conservancy's website for dates on which you can visit.

The Davis Mountains looking back towards the visitor center at the start of my hike

The preserve opened at 8:30 am on the open day of October 19. I arrived around 9:30, and because I did not have a high-clearance vehicle I could not drive up the Madera Canyon Road to within close walking distance of Mount Livermore. Rather, one of the volunteers in the visitor center suggested that I take a 9.5-mile loop hike from the visitor center to Locke's Gap and back.

The Davis Mountains after the trial went around the first small mountain

This hike began by going north from the visitor center and paralleling Texas state route 118 for a short distance as the trail went around a small mountain. Once on the northern side of this mountain the trail turned away from the road and entered a fairly open, grassy area for some distance. The trail then turned to the southwest to go up a valley. While the trail was gradually ascending this valley, it paralleled and crossed a stream bed several times. Because of some recent rains, there was actually some water at points in this stream.

The stream in the first valley

A grasshopper

As I hiked up the valley towards Locke's Gap, I saw a flock of about ten turkeys and countless large grasshoppers. Once the trail reached Locke's Gap, there were views of the more impressive mountains in the range to the south, including Mount Livermore in the distance and the closer Whitetail Mountain. After taking a break at the gap, I continued down into valley along Right Hand Creek.

The trail descending into Right Hand Creek

The old dam on Right Hand Creek

Again in this valley there were many grasshoppers, but very little water. In fact the only significant amount of water I saw was behind an old, small dam across the creek. After I exited the valley, the trail connected with one of the preserve's dirt roads, which I followed back to the visitor center through what was a mostly grasses, but also some smaller trees.

The first half my loop was on the other side of this ridge

Along the road during the return trip

Davis Mountains near the visitor center

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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